The Geocaching Blog

Tools for the First To Find Hound: Getting Ready for the FTF Race


There are Few Things Better Than a Blank Logbook

Lace up your running shoes, charge your phone or GPS, make sure there’s fuel in your geo-mobile’s tank—it’s time to go on an FTF hunt.

What’s an FTF? It’s the most popular unofficial stat in the geocaching community. It stands for First to Find. To achieve a FTF you must be the first person to sign the logbook after a geocache is published on

Want to join the race? Here are a few tips:

– Instant Notifications – Geocaching Premium members can receive an email as soon as a new geocache is published. Click to set yours up now.
– Keep Your Geocaching Tools With You – A new geocache can be published at any time, so be ready to go!
– Develop Your Geosenses – Knowing the right places to look can mean the difference between an FTF and searching for hours.

See even more FTF tips and then share your advice for making the FTF on the Geocaching Facebook page.

(Hier kannst Du den Artikel auf deutsch lesen)

Werkzeuge für den FTF-Jäger: Mach Dich bereit für das Rennen um den Erstfund


Nur wenige Dinge sind besser als ein nagelneues Logbuch.

Schnür Deine Laufschuhe, lade Dein GPS-Gerät oder Smartphone auf und vergewissere Dich, dass genügend Sprit im Tank Deines Cachemobils ist — denn es ist Zeit, auf FTF-Jagd zu gehen.

Was ist ein FTF? Es ist der vielleicht populärste inoffizielle Wettkampf innerhalb der Geocaching-Community und die Abkürzung für den Erstfinder (“First To Find”). Um einen FTF zu erreichen, musst Du die erste Person sein, die sich in ein Logbuch einträgt, nachdem ein Geocache auf veröffentlicht wurde.

Willst Du bei diesem Wettkampf mitmachen? Hier sind ein paar Tipps:

  • Sofortbenachrichtigungen – Geocaching-Premium-Mitglieder können eine Benachrichtigung per E-Mail erhalten, sobald ein neuer Geocache veröffentlicht wurde. Klicke hier, um jetzt Eine für Dich einzurichten.
  • Habe Deine Geocaching-Hilfsmittel immer dabei – Ein neuer Geocache kann jederzeit veröffentlicht werden. Sei also stets bereit.
  • Entwickle Deine Geo-Sinne weiter – Die richtigen Orte zu kennen, kann den Unterschied zwischen einem FTF und stundenlangem Herumsuchen ausmachen.

Teile Deine Tipps für einen FTF auf der Geocaching-Facebook-Seite.

Catch a cacher by the toe. – “EANEY-MEANY-MINEY-MOE” (GC3Q51P) – Geocache of the Week

Closer up.

A close up view of this tricky geocache.

Geocache Name:



Difficulty/Terrain Rating:


Why this is the Geocache of the Week:

Some geocaches make you work for the find by being in a difficult-to-reach location, others make you solve a difficult puzzle before you can figure out the final coordinates. In the case of this geocache, the hard work comes once you get to the geocache’s location. Known as a field-puzzle (a puzzle solved—guess where—in the field), these geocaches require a certain level of patience, skill and maybe even a few TOTTs (tools of the trade). Geocachers at this puzzle have to use sticks to move a container to the top of the tube, but only one tube has the actual container. The best way to choose your tube? Eaney, meany, miney, moe.


What geocachers are saying:

“This is BY FAR, my favorite cache EVER!!!! Super fun, and quite inventive. Thx so very much for the cache, and the good time solving it!” – Caching Bayou Self

“Super Cool Cache!!! One of the best I’ve seen anywhere! I really wish there were more like this!! T4TC. Thanks so much for the Goodies as well.” – ISPI

“Awesome! Awesome! Awesome! Awesome! Truly a test of the fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination if ever there was one.” – Ian’s Dad


What the Geocache owner, mitrustme, has to say:

“You have to work a matchstick container to the top of the pipe that has holes drilled into it with two nails and hope it has the log to sign and it not you have to start on the next pipe and so on till you get the right one.

We had a cacher friend give us a single pipe and decided to make it a little harder, so we put four pipes on a pole and named it EANEY-MEANY-MENEY-MOE and put it in our front yard so we could watch everyone find it and bring them water on hot days and cocoa on cold days. We were very pleased everyone likes it and have made a lot of new friends.

I just wanted to let everyone know this was my husband Ricky and my idea, he did the labor and put it up.  My husband was diagnosed with leukemia in Sept. 2011 and after 4 months of treatment he was in remission for nine months.  And I would like to thank all of our caching friends for make those nine months great.  He enjoyed all the caching trips we all went on and the events everyone put on.  Ricky passed on Nov. 17, 2012, 10 days after we found out his leukemia was back and I would like to thank all of our friends for their support.  Ricky loved caching!”




This geocache requires hard work and a lot of patience.

This geocache requires hard work and a lot of patience.

Two geocachers working to figure this one out.

Two geocachers working to figure this one out.

Which one will you pick?

Which one will you pick?

What has been the trickiest field puzzle geocache you’ve ever found? Tell us and post photos in the comments.

Continue to explore some of the most engaging geocaches around the globe. Check out all the Geocaches of the Week on the Geocaching blog. If you would like to nominate a Geocache of the Week, just fill out this form. Thanks!

5 Tips for Writing the Best Log in the World

Some logs posted on offer only a snapshot into the geocaching adventure, but great logs produce a panoramic view of the geocaching quest. Great logs inform other geocachers of what they might expect on their ‘caching adventure. They also reward geocache owners, who enjoy reading about the experiences of those seeking their ‘caches.


Share your experience beyond a TFTC (Thanks for the Cache) or TNLN (Took Nothing Left Nothing) log by following these 5 tips:


1) See it and Say it – Describe what you saw and experienced on your way to the geocache. Did you see a rare bird, a hidden waterfall, or Harrison Ford? Tell folks about it.

2) Be a Superhero – If there are new conditions in the area, like a fallen tree or heavy snow, warn other geocachers. You’d want them to do the same for you.

3) Talk about Trades – Tell people what is in the geocache container along with what you took and what you left.

4) Shout Out for the Cache Owner – Thank the cache owner for placing the geocache. TFTC is a perfectly acceptable way to do it, but feel free to be a little more creative with it.

5) Learn from Others – Think about the best log you’ve ever read…what made it so special? Humor? Sincerity? A haiku?

Geocache owners can reward those who write great logs by sending them a thank you email through their profile. Have you thanked a good logger recently?

Before GPS and Geocaching Existed: Three Navigation Systems



Inter-Auto or “Iter-Avto”

Nowadays, we’re lucky to have an abundance of smartphones and GPS devices to help us navigate to different locations (and to our beloved geocaches). But did you know that personal navigation predates the invention of Global Positioning Systems (GPS)? Prior to Sputnik, TRANSIT, and GPS devices, there were three personal navigation maps that we still see glimpses of in today’s modern technology. Get ready to learn!


Cane Maps

It started at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago… In celebration with the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s entry into the New World, the Columbian Novelty Company created “Cane Maps”. The cane map was a 10″ x 16″ sheet with maps printed on both sides. It rolled in and out of a wooden cane. The front side contained a map of the fairgrounds and the back side of the map was of Chicago, showing popular tourist attractions in the area. These maps were sold in gift shops at the fair and paved the way for future mapping and navigation techniques.

First Cane Map in 1893

First Cane Map in 1893



Plus Fours RouteFinder

Watch-you-wearing? Worn around the wrist, the Plus Fours Routefinder was a fashionable and efficient way to transit. These watch-like devices contained miniature scrolls with driving directions that rotated and updated as the motorist moved. The scrolls could be switched out and changed depending on what route was taken. 

Plus Fours RouteFinder

Plus Fours RouteFinder

Inter-Auto or “Iter-Avto”

Zoom Zoom! In 1932, an Italian company releases the Inter-Auto, the world’s first personal navigation system for an automobile. This device also contained a scrolling map and additionally, connected to the car’s speedometer to maintain an accurate scrolling rate. Similar to a modern day Garmin or Tom Tom, this device showed a motorist’s position in real-time.


Inter-Auto or “Iter-Avto”



Navigation systems today have come a long way since Cane Maps and Inter-Autos. With the addition of the GPS, geocachers today have numerous devices to choose from. As technology advances, it will be fascinating to see the direction navigation systems will head in the coming years.


What is your preferred device for geocaching?

Not done reading yet? Check the ghosts lingering in your GPS in this Who’s Hiding in Your GPS Device? post from 2010.


Sources and Images: Before There was GPS: Personal Navigation in the 1920s and 1930s, Cane MapsThe antique route show: ‘First ever built-in sat nav’ from 1930 which used a map on a scroll to guide motorists

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